Dave Holmes

Plastics manufacturer Nylex has been placed in the hands of receivers. Nylex is a well-known name — the company produces the iconic Esky, water tanks, wheelie bins, hose and garden fittings, and interior trimmings for car manufacturers.

MELBOURNE — After months of effort, the Socialist Alliance has retained its Victorian electoral registration. This means its name will appear on the ballot in seats it contests in the November 2010 state elections.

For all the misery it represents for ordinary people, there is at least one positive result of the current capitalist financial crisis. The idea of nationalisation is getting an airing again in the West, however squeamish capitalist leaders and pundits may be about using the actual word.

When one sees a modern city from the air, especially at night, it is a truly awe-inspiring spectacle. The immensity of the project is a testimony to the power and creativity of human beings. However, on the ground and actually living and working in this wonder, things are quite different: the social and ecological problems crowd in and fill your view. The truth is that our cities have always been dominated by the rich and powerful, and built and operated to serve their needs rather than those of the mass of working people who live and toil in them.

Dave Holmes is a veteran leader of the Democratic Socialist Perspective, a Marxist tendency in the Socialist Alliance. He co-wrote the pamphlet Change the System Not the Climate (Resistance Books, 2007) and will be participating in the upcoming Climate Change — Social Change Conference. Green Left Weekly’s Peter Boyle spoke to him about the key issues the conference needs to address.

In Australia, as in other major capitalist countries, the official response to global warming is to deny or gloss over the utter catastrophe confronting human society and try to carry on with business as usual, making only a few relatively minor adjustments here and there.

The media hysteria over a possible Australian link to the recent British terror attacks serves to highlight a basic reality: the Australian healthcare system is critically dependent on overseas-trained doctors and it wouldn’t work without them.

The 2007 Socialist Summer School was a great success. Sponsored by Resistance and the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), both affiliates of the Socialist Alliance, the event was held at Sydney University’s Women’s College from January 4-7. Some 210 people attended the four days of talks, workshops, meetings and social events.

The fundamental environmental problem facing humanity today is catastrophic climate change brought on by runaway greenhouse gas emissions. The relatively narrow band of climatic conditions within which we can function has been destabilised. As average temperatures rise extreme weather events (cyclones, floods, heat waves and droughts) are increasing and ocean levels look like rising dramatically, potentially making refugees of hundreds of millions of people. The very survival of the human race has now been called into question.

Like a large part of the continent, Victoria is in the grip of unprecedented drought. Across the state, dams are rapidly emptying and river flows are at record lows, cities and towns face drastic restrictions and farmers confront an uncertain future. The water crisis gives the question of global warming and catastrophic climate change a new immediacy, and is a major issue in the November 25 state election.

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